No empty slot on Neutral Bus Bar

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  #1  
Old 05-18-04, 09:47 AM
dbdunn23
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Question No empty slot on Neutral Bus Bar

I'm adding a new circuit and there isn't an empty screw slot on the neutral bus bar. I noticed that many of the ground wires are doubled up and attached to the same screw slot, but none of the neutral wires have been done this way. Can I attach the new neutral wire to a screw slot that already has a neutral wire in it or do I need to add additional bus slots?
 
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Old 05-18-04, 09:54 AM
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No. Neutral wires must occupy their own slot on the buss bar.
 
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Old 05-18-04, 10:05 AM
dbdunn23
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Thanks Bob for the quick reply. The only thing I have seen at the orange home improvement store is a ground bus bar. Can I use this to add additional neutral slots?
 
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Old 05-18-04, 10:28 AM
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If this is the Service panel, you can use the Grounding bar you referred to. The Ground bar must be "Bonded" to the EXPOSED (no paint) Metallic surface of the enclosure.

Connect a #4 copper Bonding Jumper between the Neutral/ Ground terminal bars, and transfer the existing Grounding conductors from the Neutral terminals to the new G-B.

Good Luck & Enjoy the Experience!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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Old 05-18-04, 05:46 PM
ChrisB71
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Neutral bus bar

I am wondering now, if neutrals have to be separate, why does my panel share them, and why aren't the buss bars big enough from the manufacturer to accommodate the amount of available circuits? Thanks, please let me know if I need to rectify this.

Chris
 
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Old 05-18-04, 06:09 PM
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The neutrals and the grounds do not have to be separate. At one point in the installation the neutrals and the ground are connected together. In most cases this is the main panel in the residence. They do have to be under different screws in the buss bar, but they can be in the same buss bar.
 
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Old 05-19-04, 01:14 PM
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Can you free up a slot by doubling up a couple more ground wires? Personally, I wouldn't have a problem doubling up a neutral as long as the two conductors are the same guage. I used to do it all the time and never had an inspector say anything. I have been out of the field for about 10 years so things may have changed. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there is anything in the code that prohibits it - I think to keep from voiding the UL listing of the panel you have to follow the wiring directions from the manufacturer.
 
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Old 05-19-04, 05:24 PM
texsparky
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but I don't think there is anything in the code that prohibits it - I think to keep from voiding the UL listing of the panel you have to follow the wiring directions from the manufacturer.
The NEC prohibits it unless the terminal is specifically listed for more than 1 conductor. In most panels, the manufacturer allows 2 ground wires per terminal, but only 1 neutral (grounded conductor). Read the label on your panel to see what is allowed.
 
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Old 05-20-04, 05:44 PM
dbdunn23
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Thumbs up Thanks for all the help

I have a couple of available slots on the ground bar, I'll use one of those for the neutral wire. I really appreciate everyones help and expertise.
 
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Old 05-20-04, 05:57 PM
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That's okay as long as this is the panel that contains the main disconnect for your whole property.
 
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Old 05-21-04, 05:21 AM
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As John said, the panel should be your main service entrance and the "ground" bar, "neutral" bar, and panel "can" should all be physically connected. In other words, your neutral bar should have a screw that fits freely through a hole in the neutral bar and threads into a hole in the panel box or should have some sort of strap or wire attached to the bar on one end and the can on the other. If your neutral bar is insulated from the box (floating above with insulators for legs) then you cannot put the neutral on the ground bar. In fact, there usually isn't a separate ground & neutral bar in a main service panel so I'm a little curious why you have one with the grounds and neutrals separated.
 
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Old 05-21-04, 07:31 AM
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Couldn't this problem be solved by pigtailing two of the neutrals and then attaching the single wire to the bar? I agonized over doing that when I noticed that one of my fuses had two wires under the screw, and was told on this board that, assmuming there was not a box fill problem, I could just pigtail the two hots together and run a single wire to the screw. If you can do it with a hot, can't you do it with a neutral?
 
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Old 05-21-04, 07:40 AM
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That would force the neutral current for two circuits through a single wire, potentially overloading it.
 
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Old 05-21-04, 07:56 AM
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Duh! What was I thinking???
 
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